Makyla Curtis is an artist whose work intersects poetry, printmaking and letterpress based in Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland. Her current exhibition, Apertures, at Angela Morton Room, Takapuna Library, is the culmination of several projects completed as part of her Master of Visual Arts at AUT in 2021. The show features artist books, poems, wall hangings and site-specific ephemera, including stones, plants, and pieces of driftwood. Read more…..
I caught up with Auckland based artist Celia Walker about her upcoming show Weathered at Arthaus Contemporary, Orakei where she’ll be showing new work alongside and in collaboration with Toni Mosley, 9 – 27 February 2022. (read here)
I had the pleasure of being invited to show alongside a group of artists working in different media (including my sister and mentor Leela Bhai!). Curated by Tatiana Harper and Carlos Toalii, the idea behind the show was to celebrate the diversity and consecutiveness of Upstairs Gallery Titirangi, hence the title – 6 Degrees of Separation.
It was a great opportunity to exhibit two of my etchings created during my time at Il Bisonte in Florence and share the process visitors during an artist talk on the Saturday. These two etchings – Datura Moon and The Apothecary, are part of a larger body of work exploring the historical use and interpretation of plant species as they move between continents and ideologies.
I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the weekend with tutor Kathy Boyle alongside other talented printmakers to learn about this interesting alternative to traditional lithography. We experimented with a range of mark making using drawing materials from sharpie markers to crayola washable markers and create some wonderful organic “washy effects” using the toner from used print cartridges and Indian ink. This is also a wonderful way to incorporate photographic images into your work, which were first printed onto acetate using a printer before being transferred onto the plate. And it can be used like a gelliplate – pressing leaves and other textures onto the plate to make an impression. Once we had several plates, we could have fun experimenting with layering and using different colours.
What I really loved about this technique, was not only the endless possibilities, but also that it is something that can easily be done from home with minimal materials. Preparing and processing the plate was quick and simple, although if you’re impatient you’ll need to cure the plate in an oven and to transfer photographic images you need an iron (needs to be quite powerful, as we discovered the lower watt one was ineffective). When cleaning the plate you need acetone for some materials so will need a ventilated area, unless that smell doesn’t bother you!
Beyond the Surface: Re-imaging History, features new work by artist, printmaker and educator Toni Mosley created during her three-month artist residency at Howick Historic Village. https://www.inaarraoui.com/exhibition-beyond-the-surface/
Bridget Inder is a Melbourne based contemporary artist originally from Central Otago. Her work is deeply connected to her sense of place and an intense love of the land that makes up part of her hybridised identity of strong Pakeha and Samoan heritage. https://inaarraoui.com/bridget-inder/
Cultural icon John Perry has been active in the arts scene since he graduated from Elam in the 1960s, working as an artist, curator, educator, art dealer, consultant and valuer. A lifetime of collecting can be viewed at his shop Global Village Antiques & Collectables in Helensville, Auckland. https://inaarraoui.com/john-perry/
At the beginning of lockdown I embarked on this ambitious project which I knew could keep me busy in isolation for the unpredictable weeks ahead of me. This triptych is comprised of three A4 woodblock panels, starting with the key block and then creating three more blocks to add colours. The style references Japanese woodblocks, known as ukiyo-e, where three blocks were frequently used to depict a narrative, often including animals, birds and landscapes.
This narrative piece is inspired by the female leopard escaped Auckland Zoo in 1925. For three weeks the public feared for their lives, locking themselves inside and even taking up arms in case they came face-to-face with the “spotted fury”. Her reign of terror ended when she was found by a group of fishermen, drowned and floating at the mouth of the Tamaki river near Karaka Bay.
This work speaks to the fragility of the ecosystems that make up our natural environment and the responsibility society has to take action to protect them. The Tamaki Estuary gives food and shelter to thousands of endemic and international migratory birds. Many of these species, including the banded dotterel, Eastern bar-tailed godwit, royal spoonbill and pied shag, are under threat due to increased human activity. The fact that little is done when the detriment of our actions is clear as day, raises the question of whether it’s in our human nature to make drastic change in the face of danger that doesn’t affect us directly. Or can a leopard indeed change it’s spots?
This is a unique single edition print. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing it.
Happy New Year everyone! So far 2020 has been like a dream, getting to work every morning in the Il Bisonte Printmaking studio in Florence alongside talented print people, technicians and tutors. It’s been such a challenge being completely out of my comfort zone of relief printing and learning all about etching and the many techniques that come under the umbrella of this process, such as aquatint, Gum arabic, chine Cole, dry-point, spit-bite, soft ground……..the list is endless! I’ve got total FOMO and want to try everything all at once.
This print above is my first multi-technique etching using hard ground, gum arabic and aquatint. A lot of work yet to do on it but was thrilled to discover I can achieve similar poetics of bold lines, shapes and patters, which attracts me to woodblock and stencils. There is so much I’m learning everyday and not just technically but how to get the different elements of the image to speak to each other and embody an idea.
And just when I think – hey, that’s quite good, my tutors show me something even more mind-blowingly beautiful that makes me want to try again and keep pushing my boundaries.
So, yeah, probably won’t have heaps of time for updates for the next 6 months while Im on this journey, but I’ll keep you all updated on FB and insta.